Exploring El Chalten, Argentina | waiting out bad weather near fitz roy | Destination Adventure Wedding Photographer
I've been sharing a series of blog posts from our adventures in Patagonia. We flew into El Calafate, Argentina and rented a car for a cross-country road trip through Argentina and Chile that brought us to deserts, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and just about everything in between. It was incredible! To see an overview of our entire trip via Instagram posts, head to this blog. To see our first few days in El Calafate, head here.
The first rental car we rented was not allowed to go across country borders, so we had to adjust our plans a bit to kill time in Argentina before we could get a car that was able to go to Chile. Thankfully, southern Argentina isn't a bad place to kill time :) I immediately proposed we drive straight to El Chalten, the infamous mountain town nestled at the base of the Fitz Roy range. Personally, El Chalten was my main goal for this whole trip. I have read so many books, watched movies, heard stories, and spent hours clicking through google images of this small area. I had big dreams for the first day I'd ever see Fitz Roy in person and had pictured myself sipping hot coffee in a quaint shop while it rained outside in El Chalten too many times to count.
As we drove out there on a clear day, I quickly realized the mountains were all covered in clouds despite the blue skies above us. When we turned on the 23 to head to El Chalten, I started to worry. I knew from books that there is a point when you go around a curve on the 23 that Fitz Roy stands tall straight ahead. As we got closer and closer to town, all I saw was clouds and I told Callen "I think Fitz is right there." I kept looking at a photo from our paper map, comparing the cloudy view to the picture of Fitz on a clear day. I found the hills I could see in both the photo and in my view, and realized for sure - Fitz was right in front of me, towering over the hills I was seeing, but completely hidden. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, but I knew we had three weeks of this trip and had hope we'd get a glimpse soon enough! We drove into town and my bummed mood quickly turned. I may not have seen Fitz, but I was in El Chalten! It was foggy, windy, and rainy - just as I had always imagined this little town famous for "The World's Worst Weather."
We grabbed some pizza and hot coffee and, as is started to get dark, realized it would be pretty miserable to set up the tent and camp in these conditions. We drove to 10+ hostels to see if anyone had open beds, but they were all full, so we ended up setting up the tent in the dark down a dirt road into the wilderness. We woke up to strong winds (this became the norm) and packed our tent between chilly rain patches. We decided to continue down the dirt road we'd camped on and see where it took us. This ended up being one of my favorite days of the trip! We drove along the bluest river I'd ever seen, through countless foggy mountains and a lush green jungle. Funnily enough - we went back down this road a few weeks later on a clear day and could see Fitz Roy along most of it! We didn't even realize how close we were on that first day because visibly was so poor.
After a few rad waterfall stops, the road ended at a giant lake, Lago Desierto, where we broke out the maiden voyage on the new packraft (Thanks Kokopelli!)! It was so peaceful and completely unreal to be paddling on the still lake, soft rain falling around us, while waterfalls poured off the huge cliffs. We could see a giant glacier just past the lush jungle we'd hike through to get to the beach. It was absolutely stunning. This little adventure ended up being the perfect rainy day activity. We loved the vibe of the jungle in the rain and fog. It was so beautiful!
The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.